The American tactician will lead the national team to face the Asian powerhouse in a few hours
Super Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum has hailed the Japan women’s national team as one of the best in the world.
Nigeria will face Japan in an international friendly on Thursday morning at the Noevir Stadium, Kobe.
What is Waldrum’s take on Japan?
In the pre-match press conference, American coach Waldrum highlighted the qualities that make the Nadeshiko a difficult opponent to face.
“I’ve always been a big admirer of Japan,” Waldrum said. “We know they are a world power, So we know what the match is going to bring. It’s a very disciplined and organised team.
“One thing that’s impressed me over the last few years is they have maintained the quality of the players they have always had in their tactical ability and the skill of the players.
“They have evolved with stronger, physical players as well. So, we know the challenge is going to be difficult. It’s going to be a great experience for us in terms of preparing for the World Cup.”
Friendlies are part of World Cup preparation – Waldrum
Nigeria qualified for the 2023 FIFA World Cup by reaching the semifinal of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations held in Morocco earlier in the year.
The Super Falcons have since played two friendly matches against the United States women’s national team, losing both encounters.
Despite the defeats, Waldrum facing tougher oppositions can only bring the best out of the nine-time African champions.
Waldrum added: “For us, we play these kinds of games against the best teams in the world because we know that is what it is going to be at the World Cup. We just got back from the United States playing two matches against the United States.
“Now, we have come here to Japan to play against one of the world’s best as well. So we got some young players here with us and I think it’s one of those things we need to find now, where we are lacking and inefficient.
“Playing teams like Japan will expose us to scenarios we need to improve upon. I always believe you don’t get better if you don’t play the best competition.
“So, that’s one of the reasons we wanted to come here because we know the quality of the team here in Japan.
“That will certainly prepare us for the things we need to work on over the next 12 months.”
What are the Super Falcons’ World Cup expectations?
Nigeria has appeared at every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup since it began in 1991. But the Falcons have never made it beyond the quarterfinal stage.
Waldrum maintains that next year’s objective is to go as far as possible at the Mundial.
“As far as the World Cup, our expectations are to make it out of our group and make a deep run in the World Cup. We feel like we have the talent to do that, and right now, we just need time to gather with the team and to prepare properly.”
The kick-off time for the Super Falcons and Nadeshiko match is 8:25 am Nigerian time.